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I've just got a new PC, and I'm ready to set everything up. I'm wanting to dual boot Windows 7/10, and Ubuntu 14. I'd like it to be so by default it boots to Windows, unless I tell it otherwise.

I've set up some dual boots before, but they've always been a little awkward and not worked ideally. Is there a particularly "best" method of doing this? Or an idea order I should install things in?

I'll be installing them on a 256GB SSD, and I have a boot disc for both OS's.

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The easiest way is to install Windows first and then linux. Linux tries to play nice with other operating systems. When it detects that Windows is already installed it will set its bootloader to allow you to boot both operating systems.

When you install Windows first it will ask you whether you want to use the whole disk or part of it. You should choose to only use part of it and allocate about 200 GB for the Windows partition. Then when you install Linux use the rest of the hard drive (unpartitioned space).

You can choose between each OS when you start the computer. In order to change the default OS you can edit the bootloader's file. Boot to your linux install and enter into a terminal window:

sudo nano /etc/default/grub

Change GRUB_DEFAULT=0 to correspond with the number of the entry that you would like to load first. After changing this file you must run a script to affect the changes:

sudo update-grub

If you install linux first and then Windows what usually happens is Windows sets the computer up to boot into Windows only and it tries to ignore your linux install. If that happens the easiest way to fix it is with something like boot-repair. You can create a live-USB from the iso located at: http://sourceforge.net/p/boot-repair-cd/home/Home/ When you boot from that image choose "Recommended Repair" and it will usually fix your bootloader.

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Have you considered using something like VMWare and creating a virtual machine for Ubuntu on your Windows desktop? I've created dual booting in the past and also found it to be a little clunky, but if you're just looking to have an install of Ubuntu to work with while still having Windows virtualization is a great choice.

I'd recommend VM over dual boot for ease of use. If you don't want to dual boot anymore or want to add a new OS, you'll have to continue partitioning and reformatting your drive. With VMs you can pretty much add and delete the VMs you're using at will. It's very conducive to learning and practice on new operation systems as well as just plain ol' curiosity!

The way I performed dual booting was creating a new partition for it on the hard drive and performing the installation that way. It works, but definitely consider using virtual machines for multiple operating systems. It's much easier.

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  • I've tried some VM software in the past and found it a bit laggy and slow. Are there any particularly good free ones you suggest I try? – TMH Jul 9 '15 at 16:08
  • I know there's Virtualbox that's an open source alternative, but I haven't used it myself. VMWare usually works pretty well for me, but it can be kind of intense of hardware depending on how you have the VM set up. From the sound of the set up you have, you should probably have enough RAM to get a VM going without lag. – Stealth_kong Jul 9 '15 at 16:19
  • One other reason I'd recommend VM over dual boot is just ease of use. If you don't want to dual boot anymore or want to add a new OS, you'll have to continue partitioning and reformatting your drive. With VMs you can pretty much add and delete the VMs you're using at will. It's very conducive to learning and practice on new operation systems as well as just plain ol' curiosity! – Stealth_kong Jul 9 '15 at 16:22
  • @Ramhound - yeah, you're right. I edited a bit. Hope that helps! – Stealth_kong Jul 9 '15 at 17:14
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Install Windows first, then Ubuntu. To change the bootloader, install GRUB Customizer with:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:danielrichter2007/grub-customizer

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install grub-customizer

Launch it, then move the Windows Boot to the first spot (with the up arrow button in the List Configuration Tab). The Windows boot is usually called Windows Recovery Environment. Then, go to the General Settings Tab, and make sure the default boot is the first spot. Click Save, and it's done. I usually do sudo update-grub, but I'm not sure if it's necessary or not.

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I would use Windows 7 Disk Management to shrink the existing partition. Then install Ubuntu on a newly created partition. Leave Windows 7 as the default when booting.

Windows 10 is scheduled to launch at end of July. If you want Windows 7 and 10, then I would create an additional partition. If you want to upgrade from 7 to 10 then make sure to use the Windows 10 upgrade application to get it registered. If you want both then make sure to edit the Default operating system under the System startup options within system Properties. I also recommend turning on the "Time ti display list of operating systems."

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